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Davis Cup Semifinals Are Set

April 09, 2001|From Associated Press

France and Australia produced victories on the road Sunday to complete the semifinal field for the Davis Cup.

Nicolas Escude won a five-set marathon against George Bastl, sending France past Switzerland, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. France will play the Netherlands in the next round in September.

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia defeated one of the top clay-court players on his best surface, scoring a straight-sets victory over Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil. Australia will play Sweden in the semifinals.

The Netherlands and Sweden clinched their series Saturday, with the Dutch beating Germany and the Swedes eliminating Russia.

Escude won, 1-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 8-6, in 4 1/2 hours at Neuchatel, Switzerland. Bastl, who played at USC, was a last-minute replacement for Marc Rosset.

Kuerten, who ended last year ranked No. 1, was playing in his hometown of Florianopolis, Brazil. But Hewitt was in command, winning, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (3), and giving Australia a 3-1 victory in the best-of-five quarterfinal.

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Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario won her first singles title in more than a year, defeating doubles partner Magui Serna, 6-3, 6-1, in an all-Spanish final at the Porto Open at Porto, Portugal.

Sanchez-Vicario, once ranked No. 1 but now No. 14, was seeded first. Serna, seeded third, was playing her first WTA singles final. Sanchez-Vicario won the clay-court final in 50 minutes.

Football

The final regular-season telecast of an XFL game on NBC matched its poorest overnight ratings of the year. The Week 10 broadcast Saturday night of the Xtreme's 24-0 victory over the San Francisco Demons at the Coliseum drew a 1.7 rating with a 3 share, exactly the same as a week ago.

The XFL's ratings on NBC have plummeted since the debut earned a 9.5. The league and the network indicated the low ratings make it unlikely NBC will broadcast games Saturday nights next year.

Charles Puleri completed seven of eight passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns as the New York-New Jersey Hitmen closed the XFL regular season with a 22-0 victory over the Birmingham Thunderbolts before 10,749 at Birmingham, Ala. New York-New Jersey (4-6) missed a spot in the XFL playoffs when Chicago beat Orlando. Birmingham lost its final seven games to finish 2-8.

Kevin McDougal threw a touchdown pass and ran for another as the Chicago Enforcers beat the Orlando Rage, 23-6, at Chicago to clinch the final playoff berth. The Enforcers (5-5) open the playoffs in Los Angeles on Sunday against the Western Division-champion Xtreme. The Rage (8-2) will face San Francisco on Saturday night.

Miscellany

Forward Richard Jefferson, a key to Arizona's drive to the national championship game, has decided to skip his senior season and make himself available for the NBA draft.

A nine-year championship reign by the University of Washington women's crew team ended when USC won the Jessop-Whittier Cup with a come-from-behind victory in the 28th San Diego Crew Classic.

The Trojans covered the 2,000-meter course over Mission Bay in 6 minutes 52.51 seconds after trailing by one boat length at the midpoint of the race. The Huskies finished in 6:53.03.

Canada completed another perfect run through the women's world hockey championship with a 3-2 victory over the United States in the title game at Minneapolis.

With Kim St. Pierre turning away 33 shots, Canada defeated the U.S in the final game for the seventh consecutive year.

CBS News quoted a former U.S. Olympic Committee doping control official as saying the United States routinely sent drug-using athletes to the Olympics, including the Sydney Games last year.

A transcript of the network's "60 Minutes II" program due to be broadcast Tuesday night quoted Wade Exum, the committee's top doping control officer until last year, as saying the drugs involved included the anabolic steroid nandrolone, stimulants and pain killers.

Ahmad Popal, a 29-year-old boxer, died in Melbourne, Australia, three days after he was injured in a bantamweight fight.

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